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Saturday 24 August 2013

Dye experiments

Yesterday afternoon I spent a pleasant few hours dyeing fabrics. I actually needed more threads to use on my embroidered hexagon fabric but you can not just dye threads unless you are doing loads! So I had a look through my fabrics to see what I could play around with.

I found a metre of white cotton velvet and as I am thinking about bags for presents this seemed like a good fabric to experiment on.
I divided it into 6 pieces, soaked them in cold water and then wrung them out and put each into a separate poly bag.
I also have a quantity each of white  viscose velvet and a synthetic velvet (for use with disperse dyes) but could not remember which was which so I put snippets of each into each bag. I added a selection of white cotton embroidery threads and some silk threads from Oliver Twists and then I was ready to dye.
I mixed some emerald dye and some marine violet then mixed them together in three different proportions adding each to a different polly bag.
I then repeated using the same proportions with lemon and turquoise dye.
As I don't like solid colour fabrics I did not agitate the bags after an initial squeeze and knead to distribute the dye.
The bags were left overnight and this morning they were rinsed and washed in metapex and I must say I am very pleased with the results.
These are the emerald/marine violet fabrics and threads - the colours are actually much darker than the photograph shows.

These are the lemon/turquise

Some of the dye that was left over was dripped onto a dry linen fabric, wrapped in cling film and left over night.

Then to use the rest of the dye I scrunched some dry cotton fabric into two ice cream tubs and then just pourned on the dye, prodded with a wooded stick and then covered and again left overnight.

Here are the results of these two experiments.

There are some beautiful 'flowers' on some of the emerald/violet fabric

And I now know which is the synthetic velvet!

Once I had put these bags and pots of fabric to one side I was able to get on with another project.

I dyed these shibori fabrics a little while ago but have never been happy with the colour.

So I added them to a bowl of ultramarine dye and am now much happier with the result.

Again, the camera does lie and these fabrics are darker than they show here.

Not liking waste I clamped some folded cotton fabric between perspex squares and soaked these in the ultramarine dye after I had removed the shibori fabrics. Although most of the dye was spent the cotton has taken on a lovely pale blue colour and is ready to be overdyed next time I get my dyes out.

Hope you are all having a good weekend

Best wishes


Thursday 15 August 2013

Hexies and Applique

If you were reading my blog back in January then you will have seen this picture of hexagons that I made while we were away over Christmas.

I sewed them together like this

and eventually they looked like this.

No, it is not going to be a table runner!

This week I have been having fun starting to embroider onto my fabric.

It is some time since I did some hand embroidery and I am loving this.

This week I also finished work on an appliqued and hand quilted cushion cover front - I have yet to find some suitable fabric to make up the cushion though.

I really enjoyed doing the quilting but I think it will be some time before I do any more applique!

I've signed up for another Mystery Quilt starting in October - I have definite plans for this quilt and have started ordering fabric - and for a Pretty Pouch Swap. I have never done a swap before although have seen some lovely swaps on blogs so thought I would give it a go.

                                                  Pretty Pouch Swap

So I think I am going to be busy!

Have a good weekend - we have friends staying Friday to Sunday which will be fun - and happy stitching.


Friday 2 August 2013

Albizia Flowers

We have a lovely Albizia tree in our garden which, amazingly, has survived -17 degree winters and heatwave summers - but I must not speak too soon as we are in the middle of another one! 36 degrees yesterday and nearly there again today.
While I was weeding around the base of the tree the other day, I noticed that not only is it shedding dead flowers, but also fresh, vibrant pink ones (could this be a warning!).

They are fascinating little pink brushes - suprisingly strong. So I picked up a handfull and thought I would see if I could dry them to add to some of my work.

Here at the flowers

I gave them a short blast in the microwave

Then left them to cool down before opening.

They had lost some of their vibrancy but are still very attractive.
After a short while I had a nice collection.

So now, what to do with them? I find that making postcards is always a good way to experiment with new techniques and materials so I cut a couple of pieces of pelmet vilene to size and had an odment left so cut that into two.

I laid painted bondaweb on the vilene, a few flower heads, covered with baking parchment and then ironed.

The baking parchment is peeled off when everything is cool.

I added a layer of pale green sheer fabric to the two postcards to protect the flower heads as I do like to post my cards as postcards.

So here are my finished results - two cards and two postcards.

When I opened the box today I found that the left over flower heads had deteriorated slightly - possibly I had not dried them enough in the microfleur. However, by ironing the ones I used, that completed the drying process and they are fine.
So I went and picked up a few more to dry. This time I have used evolon as my backround and again added painted bondaweb and topped it off with the sheer fabric.

I intend to try some hand stitching into this piece.

Hope you all have a good weeked - I am off to 'batten hatches' and move delicate plants as we are forecast storms with hail and strong winds tonight!

Happy stitching